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Music Educator Receives Top Honor

Sound Recording Pioneer Named UMass Lowell Distinguished University Professor

Music Prof. William Moylan is named 2019 Distinguished University Professor Photo by Edward Brennen
Music Prof. William Moylan, shown with Provost Joseph Hartman and Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, has been named the 2019 Distinguished University Professor.

11/12/2019

 Contacts for media: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu

LOWELL, Mass. – Music Prof. William Moylan, architect of UMass Lowell’s nationally acclaimed Sound Recording Technology program, has been named the 2019 Distinguished University Professor. 

The highest accolade bestowed on a UMass Lowell faculty member, the award honors educators for exemplary teaching, research and service to the university. 

Moylan, an authority on audio engineering and music theory, founded UMass Lowell’s Sound Recording Technology (SRT) program in the 1980s. A signature course of study at the university and one of only a few of its kind in the United States, the program is a renowned training ground for professionals in all fields involving capturing sound. The program has produced numerous Grammy and Emmy winners and UMass Lowell graduates working in the industry are making essential contributions to music, radio, TV, film, video and live event production. 

A producer, engineer and composer, Moylan has recorded many leading artists and ensembles in a broad cross section of music genres, from classical and jazz to pop and folk. His recordings have been released by major and independent record labels and have resulted in wide recognition, including several Grammy Award nominations. 

An authority on the recorded works of the Beatles, Moylan is also in demand as an expert source and speaker on the lasting influence of the band’s music. 

“I am deeply moved by this award,” Moylan said. “It is both gratifying and humbling to be selected for this distinction and to have my career’s work recognized. I have consistently been taken with the exemplary UMass Lowell faculty named as Distinguished University Professors and I’m honored now to be among them.”

Selected for the honor by a committee of his peers, Moylan was nominated by his colleague, Prof. Alan Williams, who leads UMass Lowell’s music business program. 

“Will Moylan’s design and implementation of the SRT major has become a flagship program for UMass Lowell’s Music Department, consistently attracting outstanding students to our campus and graduating alumni who work in high-profile positions in the audio industry. But what might be overlooked is the impact his research has had in all matters related to sound – from audio education to musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, sound studies, even cultural studies and cultural anthropology. He is a pioneer and UMass Lowell has been fortunate to have him for these many decades,” Williams said. 
 
Moylan, a resident of Temple, N.H., teaches courses in critical and analytical listening, music analysis and musicology, among other topics. He also works to place SRT majors in internships in the recording industry and has become a mentor to many students and program alumni. 

His book, “Understanding and Crafting the Mix: the Art of Recording,” has been adopted by recording programs worldwide. Unique in its approach, the textbook focuses on the creative aspects behind the recording process and guides students in the development of the critical-listening skills they will need as professionals to evaluate quality audio production. His next book, “Recording Analysis: How the Record Shapes the Song,” due out next spring, examines how the sounds captured in a recording contribute to the artistic impact of a song and listeners’ experience of it. 

Moylan’s influence as a teacher is not only felt by SRT majors but other UMass Lowell students pursuing concentrations in music studies, business, performance and composition for new media.   

“For example, Will teaches a graduate theory class for our music education students that also includes aspects of his critical listening class. He carefully builds his lessons so they are clear. Through this approach, he is modeling best practices for teaching music theory and literature to future music teachers,” said Prof. Gena Greher, the department’s interim chairwoman. 

UMass Lowell’s Distinguished University Professors each serve for three years and include 2018 honoree Psychology Prof. Meg Bond, Plastics Engineering Prof. Joey Mead (2017) and History Prof. Robert Forrant (2016). Moylan is the 12th professor to receive the award since it was established in 2008. He will deliver the annual Distinguished University Professor Lecture in the spring.

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe. www.uml.edu